April 2014

Seeing the light

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Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc. uses a coating system to restore a roof for Susquehanna Bancshares

by Krista Reisdorf

Photos courtesy of Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

A courtyard view of architectural renovations of the old structure

The headquarters building for regional financial services company Susquehanna Bancshares Inc., Lititz, Pa., is a renovated 19th-century mill. During the summer of 2006, the building's roof was 18 years old and had been repaired several times within the previous two years.

The building's owners were considering their options regarding whether the roof needed to be replaced or restored. After evaluation, it was decided restoration would be most beneficial, and Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa., was chosen to perform the roof system restoration.

A fixer-upper

The building's 60,000-square-foot roof system is unique; although a portion of the roof is low-slope, it mainly consists of a series of steeply sloped sections that abut vertical window walls to create a sawtooth design. Each section is about 20 feet deep and 80 feet long with a 30- to 45-degree roof slope.

Photos courtesy of Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

The building's main entrance view

The existing roof system consisted of a metal deck, 3-inch-thick polyisocyanurate insulation and a fully adhered EPDM membrane. The roof was weathered and experienced problems. Options such as complete tear-off and a coating system were discussed.

"The roof had leaked, and the repairs had to do with open seams and open flashing joints," says Steve Ballentine, estimator for Gooding, Simpson & Mackes. "We evaluated the roof and determined that the main roof needed maintenance. We didn't think it needed to be replaced because the overall condition of the roof was in good shape."

Ballentine provided costs for roof restoration using coatings and costs for replacement. He recommended a coating system—specifically, Republic Powdered Metals Inc.'s Geogard® system, which is a monolithic, highly reflective white urethane coating.

Photos courtesy of Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

The completed Republic Powdered Metals Inc. Geogard® system

"We chose Geogard because it's a urethane-based system," Ballentine says. "It's superior for areas where minimal ponding may occur and where slopes connect with flat areas."

The difference in cost was a factor in Susquehanna Bancshare's decision to choose a restoration system.

"One thing our management team liked about roof restoration was the huge difference in the cost," says Nathaniel Baum, facility help-desk supervisor for Susquehanna Bancshares. "Restoration was approximately one-third the cost of a complete roof replacement. We're talking significant savings."

Keeping it quiet

To figure out how much maintenance was required before applying the coating, an infrared roof scan was employed to detect any wet roof insulation that needed to be replaced. Gooding, Simpson & Mackes submitted a list of remedial repairs and planned for potential noise and odor issues.

Photos courtesy of Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

The intersection of sawtooth and low-slope roofs

However, as the company applied the coating, noise was not a significant issue because the project did not involve a tear-off. Regarding odor, on warmer days, crews would shut down the rooftop air-conditioning and ventilation units near where they were working. In addition, because there was a high parapet wall, major safety precautions were not necessary.

The sawtooth design created a slight challenge when applying the coating, but the crew was up to the task.

"Because of the sloped roof areas, it was harder to hold your balance and the process was significantly slower," Ballentine says. "The older membrane was slick to begin with, and you couldn't even stand on it unless you had decent shoes with good grip. We worked as a team to apply the coating on the sloped areas."

Above and beyond

After the roof restoration was finished, building occupants said the coating's highly reflective white surface affected the inside of the building, as well.

"Because of the sawtooth design of the roof, the white membrane reflected so much light into the interior that it really brightened up the inside of the building," Ballentine says.

Photos courtesy of Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

A view of the sawtooth roof sections

The energy efficiency of the membrane has led Susquehanna Bancshares to strive to make the building even more energy-efficient.

"We're getting more sunlight inside, so we don't need to have as many lights on, and we're having a complete lighting upgrade done with automatic light-level sensors," Baum says. "As we get ample natural light inside, the automatic system will detect the light coming in and shut off lights accordingly."

The company also believes the roof coating may positively affect heating and cooling costs. When a thermal reading was taken on a hot day during the project, the white, coated surface was 105 F compared with 145 F for the black, uncoated surface.

"The white surface reflects the heat back into the atmosphere instead of absorbing the heat into the building where we have to cool it," Baum says. "Considering that we now have a lot more people drawing power, we know this white roof coating is helping to keep our energy costs lower than they would have been without it."

Photos courtesy of Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.

A view of the site before the project

Ballentine says this is part of what made the job satisfying.

"The restoration of an older roof system and improvement of the light and energy efficiency was the most rewarding part of the job," he says.

But Ballentine is happy that all the factors working together also satisfied Susquehanna Bancshares.

"Between the elimination of the leakage problem, containing the long-term roofing needs, and additional light in the building, they're happy on all fronts," he says.

Krista Reisdorf is Professional Roofing's director of online communications.

Project name: Susquehanna Bancshares
Project location: Lititz, Pa.
Project duration: August 2006-May 2007
Roof system type: White urethane coating
Roofing contractor: Gooding, Simpson & Mackes Inc., Ephrata, Pa.
Roofing manufacturer: Republic Powdered Metals Inc., Medina, Ohio


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